Water Pollution Fight Hampered by Poor Grassroots Enforcement
China's grassroots environmental protection agencies are overburdened, with the number of law enforcement officers sitting at just 63.2 per 10,000 square kilometers, the Workers' Daily reported on Friday.
A law enforcement inspection panel of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) has looked into the protection of drinking water sources, as well as water pollution prevention and control at key rivers, and made proposals regarding improvements on the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law in a report to the NPC Standing Committee.
The report indicates that China has made progress in curbing water pollution in the past decade. In 2014, water quality at 972 surface water monitoring sites saw 63.2 percent at Grades Ⅰ-Ⅲ, up 22 percentage points from 2005, while Grade V, which indicates territory with water heavily polluted, shrank to 9.2 percent, down 17 percentage points from 2005.
However, the report warns that China still has a long way to go in fighting water pollution, since 9.2 percent of surface water at Grade V means the water is almost useless, and 24.6 percent of China's major lakes suffer eutrophication.
The inspection team is also raising other concerns regarding unreasonable industrial layouts; overuse of fertilizers; poor infrastructure and lack of supervision in rural areas; poor enforcement of laws and regulations to protect drinking water; and ineffective sewage treatment plants.
China uses six classifications for water quality. Grade I is the best. Water no worse than grade III can be used for drinking, although sometimes treatment is required. Water worse than grade V is too polluted for any purpose, including irrigation.